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In this course, we look at three different eras of archaeologically-known social complexity: the Indus period, the Early Historic era, and the Medieval period. We evaluate the way in which cities, writing, art, leadership, ritual and trade activities were developed and expressed by ancient people.
Students also learn about the many different environmental zones and types of archaeological sites that exist in the many different regions of South Asia. Although each of the modern South Asian nations has geographic diversity, all of these areas are characterized by a hot summer followed by monsoon rains. From the long shoreline of India to the mountains of Nepal, from the deserts of Pakistan to the tropical lowlands of Bangladesh and the warm island of Sri Lanka, South Asia presents a tremendous range of cultural adaptations that stretch long back into the past.
The final project in the class consists of a “Museum of South Asian Archaeology,” in which students work in teams to prepare posters depicting the archaeology of different states and provinces throughout the subcontinent. We open our “Museum” to the UCLA archaeological community, and celebrate the end of the term with regional snacks and music.